Post on JunkI volunteer at a local organization, one that I remember from my childhood to be fun, inviting, and a great place to learn. Nerds remember places of higher knowledge with great fondness and appreciation.

But this year, there’s a load of junk in the classrooms. It’s everywhere you look. It’s stuffed in closets and hallways, too. It makes the building look unused, even abandoned. I asked what it was doing there, everywhere, and was told that it’s for the Trash and Treasure sale, which has been pushed back this year by at least a month. I needed a safe place to house a classroom and this junk was not helping. It also wasn’t helping with the overall look and feel of the building. This was not the inviting learning center I once knew it to be.

Yet, like many volunteer organizations, this one is struggling through a financial lull. The Trash and Treasure sale, if it performs the way it has in years past (yes, years past this junk has been there!), then it should be a greatly needed financial boon. Unsold myself, I still looked upon this junk as an eyesore, one that was keeping people from wanting to hang out in the building. In frustration, I thought if I had the funds, I’d give heavily to this organization, and I’d clean out all this junk and fix the place up. It would be inviting again.

And that’s when it occurred to me that, again, all things boil down to money. That thought made me sadder than looking at the junk. All paths for improvement travel through moneytown at one point or another. Money is the fast track to fixing things up and getting them in order. But those same paths meander for a reason: there are many more ways than money. Especially when you don’t have it, money can’t be the only solution. I took another look at this junk, at the volumes of it, and I asked the question, “Does this sale bring in lots of people?”

I was told that yes, people line up around the block and wait for hours to get in for the sale.

That’s a lot of people, who, if they like what they see as far as the building and the organization is concerned, may want to join in. In a split second, the junk went from being an eyesore to being an opportunity. I even heard myself say, “I can’t believe we only have a month before the sale!”

I rallied a team, and we thought through wall decorations, brochures to hand out, and charts and pictures of our activities for Trash and Treasure buyers to look at while they’re in line.

I’d been thinking about this all wrong. Fighting the junk was a losing battle. I’m humbled to realize how close-minded I was. Creating an open mind to see the possibilities was the solution.

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Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing

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